That magical moment when your child meets their new sibling for the first time is a memory that you will cherish forever. As sweet as it may be, it also represents a moment of significant transition in your older child’s life.
Where once they were the center of your world, now you seem to orbit around a newborn in constant need of being held, fed, changed, etc.
One way you can help them ease the transition and recognize that their new sibling is not a competition but a companion is to begin the relationship by giving them a “big sibling gift” from the new baby.
The “Big Sibling Gift” Explained
A big sibling gift is a gift that is symbolically given from the new baby to the older child or children in order to help them feel special during a time when they may be tempted to feel neglected.
The best big sibling gifts will help your little one in a variety of ways: it may empower them to be a better sibling, or celebrate their “promotion” in the family.
It may help them to feel as though they have an active role in the family celebrations, or it may be something special that will keep them occupied when Mommy and Daddy’s hands are full.
Big sibling gifts can reduce jealousy and begin to develop the bond between siblings during those first few months when your newborn is not yet able to interact with their big brother or sister.
How to Choose a Big Sibling Gift
When choosing a sibling gift, think about your older child’s age and level of independence. Choose things you can enjoy together as well as something they can play with on their own when you need a moment without your “little helper.”
You may want to give some gifts to prepare for the baby, as well as something exciting to gift when the baby is born to celebrate the occasion.
I’ve put together a list of a variety of gifts for children of different ages to help them feel special, included, as well as to keep them busy and out of trouble while you’re getting the newborn down for a nap.
There’s no need to choose just one – I recommended putting together a gift basket with a variety of items the last you through the first few months of sleep deprivation and marathon nursing sessions.
Best Big Sibling Books
Prior to bringing home baby, it’s important to read books and watch videos that will teach your child about their new role as a sibling.
If your child is very young, you may not need to read them books many months in advance as they won’t have any context in which to understand until they can see the baby in real life.
But beginning about two to three months before your due date, spend some quality time snuggled up in a cozy chair reading books about being a big brother or sister, what babies do, how to take care of them, etc.
It’s a good idea to use your library card to check out as many as you can in order to rotate them (and avoid your child becoming bored), and then purchase their favorites to read again once the baby has arrived.
The New Baby
The New Baby by Mercer Mayer is a beloved classic from his popular Little Critter stories. In this story, Little Critter is excited about his new baby sister coming home.
He tries to play with her and read to her, but the baby isn’t interested and only cries. So what exactly can Little Critter do with is new baby, if she can’t play ball and read his favorite book?
This simple yet adorable book shows children that they can still enjoy playing with their new siblings even though they are tiny.
The Big Sibling Book: Baby’s First Year According to ME
This special memory book by prolific writer Amy Krouse Rosenthal allows your older child (2-6 years of age, though older children enjoy it as well) to take part in your new baby’s milestones through sticker activities, interviews, milestone pages, and more.
Give this gift before baby arrives in order to take full advantage of all of the included activities.
Some reviewers did comment that breastfeeding is not mentioned and it may not be ideal for blended families, but in general, most parents and children really enjoy this book and the way it helps older siblings to feel included in caring for the new baby.
Babies Don’t Eat Pizza
This adorable and informative book discusses pregnancy, birth, normal baby behavior, and more in a straight forward tone with a dash of humor for a perfect combination of education and fun.
This book will help you answer the never-ending flood of questions from an eager sibling as well as remind them that babies take time to learn how to do things like roll over, sit up, eat food, etc.
The baby brother or sister is referred to as “your baby,” helping your child to take responsibility, and it frequently reminds them that they were a baby once, too.
The artwork includes images of diversity, breastfeeding, and even mentions a few unique circumstances like adoption, premature babies, and multiples.
Superhero and Princess Big Sibling Sets
These gender themed books come with either a superhero cape and mask or a princess doll and crown for the new big brother or sister.
The included story teaches your child that it’s great to be a big brother or sister and explains a bit about taking care of new babies.
Your child can dress up as a superhero or princess when it’s time to help with chores for the new baby and feel that they are a really important part of the new family dynamic.
The Best Big Sibling Doll Gifts from New Baby
An important part of being a big brother or sister is learning how to handle the new baby. Don’t poke! Don’t pick her up! Be gentle!
I’ve found myself saying these phrases to my 4-year-old again and again…and again since our youngest was born.
Your older child will also want to help with diaper changes, feeding, dressing, and more. A great way to help your child practice being gentle and participate in changing diapers and caring for the baby is to give them one of their own!
Let them practice on their own doll, and then when you’re struggling to get your newborn down for a nap and your older child wants to climb on top of you, tell them that their baby needs a nap, too. You may find it will buy you a few minutes of time. 😉
La Baby 11-Inch Doll
This soft baby doll is small enough for a young child to carry but with realistic features and several choices in skin tones, big brother or sister will feel like they have a really important job taking care of it.
Accessories are not included but no worries – your child will prefer to use a real diaper and bottle when it’s time to care for it.
Another bonus: it’s washable, so you can easily clean off all of the smooshed bananas and spilled milk from failed feedings.
If you’re looking for something realistic and sweet on a budget, this is a great choice.
La Newborn Diaper Bag Gift Set
This realistic looking doll comes with a diaper bag set including a changing mat, diaper, feeding supplies, and more.
Your little one can pack up their own diaper bag and practice caring for their own baby as they watch and learn from you.
What’s great about this set is that all of the basics are included, however, if you’re looking for something more diverse you may want to choose the 11-inch doll and purchase your own accessories separately.
Big Sibling Activity Books
If your child is old enough to do some writing on their own (with an attention span longer than a gnat’s!), activity books are a great way to keep them occupied without turning on the beloved Netflix all day.
While my 4-year-old boy will work on an activity book for a few minutes at a time, he usually needs my help on each page, but my 6-year-old boy has finally hit the sweet spot and can work on an activity book for 20 minutes or more with limited direction from me or my husband.
Melissa & Doug “My Town” Reusable Sticker Pad
If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my six years of parenting, it’s that kids LOVE stickers. It doesn’t matter if your child is a boy or a girl – you can never go wrong with stickers.
This reusable sticker pad from Melissa & Doug features five different scenes from around town: a school, a grocery store, a restaurant, a hospital, and a firehouse.
They can use the cling stickers again and again to create scenes and stories. They’ll never run out of ideas and with a little creativity, you can give them directions for what kinds of scenes to make.
The same product is available in other varieties such as house, dinosaur habitats, a princess castle, vehicles, adventure scenes, and more. At such a low price, why not buy two or three?
Make-a-Face Sticker Books
My boys love the silly faces they can put together by mixing and matching eyes, noses, mouths, and accessories like sunglasses, hats, and ties.
We have both the animal version and the dinosaur version for each of them and they have been a lifesaver to me when I need a few minutes of quiet to get the baby to sleep, or even just to go to the toilet by myself!
With so many possibilities for funny creations, your kids can entertain themselves (and each other if you have more than one!) and you can feel proud of yourself for keeping the TV turned off (at least for now).
Kids Unplugged Ocean Quest Activity Book
Filled with word searches, coloring activities, mazes, and more, this 64-page activity book is both fun and educational.
This is ideal for a child who can already read on their own, or they can sit next to you and work on it with a little bit of guidance from you while you nurse the baby.
Hidden Picture Books
When I was a kid I looked forward to my monthly magazine subscription and the new hidden picture activity for the month.
Now, you can find books full of hidden picture activities for children of different ages.
This one, for ages 5 and up, is perfect for keeping big brother or sister busy hunting for hidden objects while also building important skills and exercising their brain.
Big Sibling Creative Gifts
Children need opportunities to let their creative juices flow, and these gifts are perfect for just that. They can color, create, build, and
Picasso Tiles Magnetic Building Blocks
Whether the big-sibling to be is 2 years old or 8 years old, they will love all of the creative possibilities with these magnetic building blocks.
With a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors they can create all kinds of structures and never run out of ideas.
Kids love the soft “click” sound the tiles make when the magnetic force pulls them together and I love that unlike regular blocks, they pack up flat in their box and don’t take a lot of space to store.
You can also buy additional sets that include wheels, window shapes, or even a book full of creative ideas.
This magnetic travel tangram set is perfect for a child 6 and older.
Because it’s magnetic, you don’t have to worry about the pieces moving around or getting lost and the included book has the answer keys for those really tricky shapes.
I bought it for my son when he was 5 and it was still a little too hard for him, but now that he is 6 he’s starting to get the hang of it.
Challenge your child with different shapes and patterns and watch the gears turning inside their head as they unlock the puzzle to each tangram.
DIY Knot a Quilt
If your child is old enough to work on their own, consider a craft kit that will allow them to create something they can love and enjoy.
This quilt kit is perfect for an older child and they can then use the quilt to snuggle up on chilly days.
There are countless varieties of craft kids, from yarn unicorns, to friendship bracelets, and even slime kits. Choose the one that’s right for your kid.
For Active Big Siblings
You won’t find these gifts on most lists, but take it from a mom who knows: the birth of a new baby is the perfect time to give your older child something really special to help them burn off energy when you can’t chase them.
Little kids need to run, jump, and play so choose one of these for a gift they will love and you’ll especially appreciate the post-playtime nap after they’ve spent the day running and jumping.
Little Tykes Trampoline
Tried and true, this is perfect for the child that seems to be a little ball of energy that never stops (I’m looking at my 4-year-old now).
Perfect for indoors, this trampoline is small enough to fit anywhere, has a handle bar for stability, and will keep your child bouncing somewhere other than your lap.
Monkey Bars Climbing Tower
With three kids 6 and under and a fourth on the way, these monkey bars have been a saving grace for a friend of mine.
It’s easy to build and suitable for both indoors or outdoors.
Set it up in the backyard and get yourself a comfortable lawn chair and watch your kids climb and swing, even if you can’t get out of the house to take them to the park.
You won’t regret an investment like this!
Pop Up Play House and Tunnel
If you’re looking for something a little more portable that you can easily move from indoor to outdoor, a pop-up playhouse and tunnel (with optional ball pit) is a perfect way to keep your kids busy, rain or shine, at your home or the grandparents’ house.
The set-up is quick and taking it down only takes a few minutes as well.
Whatever gift(s) you choose, the most important thing is that your older child knows that he/she is loved and not forgotten.
No amount of gift-giving can replace warm snuggles on Mommy’s lap and gentle words of love and tenderness.
While adding a new child to the family can feel overwhelming at times, the love that grows along with your family is worth it all.